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Sunday, December 18, 2011

Frederick County Proposed State Redistricting Map Released

George Wenschhof

The proposed redistricting for the state of Maryland is now official and can be viewed online. The Governor's Redistricting Advisory Committee issued a press release Friday and scheduled a public meeting to be held December 22.

Sources have informed me the proposed redistricting map will be introduced by Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley on the first day the General Assembly meets next year. I was told legal review has been done and the proposed redistricting will withstand any legal challenge - Time will tell on this.

In Frederick County, significant changes have been proposed to the configuration of district 3 and 4. However, it appears unlikely any major changes in political party representation will result.

In a telephone interview with Democratic state senator Ron Young (district 3), he said "I am very satisfied with the two senatorial districts in Frederick county." Young went on to say District 3 is currently the largest of any state senate district in the state with approximately 149,000, with the proposed district containing 117,000 with a slight several thousand edge in Democratic voter registration.

Unaffiliated voter registration in the new district 3 will be a key in determining the victor in the 2014 state senate race.

Young said Republican State senator David Brinkley will continue to enjoy a Republican voter registration advantage in District 4.

As to delegates, In northern Frederick county, state senator Young informed me voters will lose state delegate Don Elliott from District 4-b to Carroll county as the newly configured pretzel like district 4 adds Urbana, Monrovia, Burkittsville, Rosemont and Brunswick, while by-passing the City of Frederick. All three delegates in district 4 would be elected at large. At first glance, this is a plus for Republicans.

Republican first term delegate Michael Hough (district 3-b) would benefit by being included in district 4; a district with a majority of Republican registered voters.

The two first term Republican delegates in district 4; Kathy Afzali and Kelly Schulz would stay in district 4, but gain voters from southern Frederick county.

It would appear all three would be favored to win reelection in 2014, based on the demographics of the newly configured district 4. So, no change in political party representation expected.

District 3 delegates would continue to be split with two elected from district 3-a and one from 3-b.

District 3-a will continue to be primarily The City of Frederick, which has a Democratic majority of registered voters. However, Republican Patrick Hogan won back a seat in this district he previously held for one term, after a one term absence, in 2010.

Democrat Galen Clagett is the other delegate in district 3-a, serving a third term. Clagett has said he will not seek another term. Instead, he is exploring a run for state comptroller, creating an open seat election.

As a result of the redistricting, District 3-b, currently served by delegate Michael Hough, would also become an open seat. Republicans will have a slight voter registration advantage here, but with this being an open seat; it should be an interesting race to watch. The existing tiny sliver of Washington County has been removed in the proposed map.

Overall, no huge favors were done for Democrats in Frederick County in the proposed redistricting.

Out of the current 8 member state delegation representing Frederick county, only two are Democrats; state senator Ron Young (district 3) and delegate Galen Clagett (district 3-a).

Had the committee proposed three at large delegates from district 3 as they did in district 4, Democrats would have had a chance to win all three. With the proposed split district 3, it promises to be close elections for every seat, with Democrats likely to hang on to the state senate seat and one delegate seat.

But, with two delegate open seats, anything can happen. Democrats already rumored to be running in 2014 for the two seats in district 3-a; are Ryan Trout, legislative aide to state senator Ron Young, Burke Miller, and City of Frederick alderman Carol Krimm.

Trout ran unsuccessfully for state delegate in district 4-a in 2010 before going to work for Young. Miller, who recently completed law school, was former president of the Frederick County Young Democrats. Krimm is also the legislative aide to Clagett; who has already endorsed her for the position. However, Krimm finished fourth out of five aldermen in the 2009 city election, so she is no shoo-in for the seat.

Add City of Frederick alderman Karen Young to this short list if she decides against running for mayor in 2013. Young was the top vote getter in the 2009 city election.

Republican delegate Patrick Hogan, if he runs for reelection and by-passes a challenge to state senator Ron Young, will not be easy to unseat in district 3-a. You can also be sure Republicans will seriously contest the open seat. Perhaps Republican city alderman Shelley Aloi will make a bid for the seat. Another Republican possibility is former Frederick County state's attorney Scott Rolle who came in a strong third in 2010 and did not even campaign as he co-starred in the show "Decoded" on The History Channel.

It is way too early to speculate who will run for delegate in the newly configured district 3-b.

Stay Tuned….


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